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Posts tagged Matt Folliott improv

Artwork © Kurt Firla

We hitched a ride with Chad Mallett a.k.a. Matt Folliott and Ted Hallett to talk about touring, the unreliability of pants, and their new Fringe show.

P&C: Your show is about two characters on vacation. Any stories you’d like to share from your travels together?

Matt: On a trip to Montreal, Ted fell down trying to put on a pair of pants. His excuse was that there was too much room.

Ted: Yes! There was! I didn’t have anything to grab onto. Honestly, there was too much space.

Matt: The sound of Ted hitting the floor was deafening. Like being next to a bomb going off or when someone drops a sack of hammers.

Ted: Here’s a fun story: every night before bed, just before I hit the light switch, I’d whisper to Matt that I was going to masturbate on his shower towel.

Matt: Yeah that was a lot of fun for me.

Ted: Me too.

P&C: What’s the most memorable show you’ve done?

Matt: It was one we did in Kensington Market. About 20 minutes in to a really fun show, Ted split his pants. Now if you know Ted, you know he never wears underwear. The audience may or may not have gotten an eyeful.

P&C: We’re sensing a theme here. Your show is inspired by an audience members’ vacations. What is it about real experiences that audiences love?

Matt: I think the audience enjoys seeing how we use specific details of their travel experience to inform the comedy.

Ted: It’s relatable. We all have crazy travel stories and I think an audience is invested in the performance when it’s connected to something they’ve seen, experienced or dreamed of themselves. The crowd will always give us a cool travel destination to go to, but for me, the fun is playing the multiple characters in the world we’ve created based on their memories.

Matt: What Ted said.

P&C: You’ve been a duo now for five years. What’s the secret to your longevity?

Ted: The secret is to just keep doing it, ’cause what else do we have going on? That and we also make great roommates. He drives me nuts sometimes but I genuinely like Matt and that’s important when you pair up with someone. They have to be able to stand your strange habits. What do you think, Matt?

Matt: It’s a secret and I’ll never tell.

P&C: Toronto Fringe is a great way to expand your audience. Do you think it’s getting easier or more difficult to attract people to improv?

Matt: I think we’re in a golden age of improv. I know that sounds corny but people are just excited about the art form whether they’re watching shows or taking classes.

Ted: I agree. Improv is hugely popular with a younger crowd which helps a lot. It’s in the zeitgeist. I think TV shows like Key & Peele, Drunk History and Rick & Morty which cast improvisers and use improv to create content have really made the art form an intriguing dish to sample for all ages.

Matt: Intriguing dish? What is it with you and food?

Ted: I love food more than life itself you little meatball.

P&C: The show is directed by Mark Andrada. What does he bring to Chad Mallett?

Matt: I trust Mark’s comedic mind 100%. He shares our vision for the show. He just gets what’s funny and his experience as a comedian, director, and theatre tech are invaluable. He’s our Filipino Yoda.

Ted: What Matt said.

P&C: You’ve both been part of the improv community for more than a decade. Who inspires you, either here or in the U.S. and abroad?

Ted: I love The Sufferettes and hero worship people like Bob Martin, Linda Kash, Paul O’Sullivan, and Lisa Merchant. I’m also really into David Razowsky, TJ & Dave, and that whole slow style of improv that developed over the years in Chicago. I’m also into S&P, a group right here in Toronto that Matt is a part of.

Matt: That’s nice! Thank–

Ted: –Don’t interrupt me. Okay, I’m done. Carry on.

Matt: Thank you Robert. I love local duos like Coko & Daphney, RN & Cawls or local shows like Matt McCready’s $12 Beer Beer. On the national scene, I’m really into The Sunday Service and anything happening at Montreal Improv Theatre is a pure joy to take in. Internationally, I adore IGLU Theatre from Slovenia. Peter, Vid and Jus from IGLU are just some of the funniest dudes you’ll ever meet. Also check out Ted & Lisa. They’re pretty damn good.

P&C: Any plans to take your Fringe show on the road?

Ted: If the road calls we will answer.

Matt: I like that Ted.

Ted: Me too. High five.

Matt: I can’t reach that high.

Catch Chad Mallett at the Toronto Fringe Festival, July 7-16. Get tickets here and Follow them at Facebook: Chad Mallett • Twitter: @ChadMallett • Instagram: @chadmallettcomedy

Photo © Mae Martin

Photo © Mae Martin

If you’re me and you like to write, you’ll rewrite something over and over again. In improv we don’t have this option. We are writing in the moment with no editor and sometimes no forethought whatsoever.

When we start off as improvisers doing this crazy thing like writing in the moment with others on stage, we often dislike or forget to honour and explore the first few things we offer up. I mean, why would we? We are just dumping our mind garbage, to quote my friend Freddie Rivas, all over the stage and hoping that within that heap of waste there is something worth taking a deeper look at.

We often run past or own brilliance at the top of a scene with blinding speed and agility. We think it can’t be that easy. That look, that line of dialogue, your body language. No it can’t be that simple. Let’s find something else to explore! We are complicated begins and when we make stuff up we often bring our own complexities on stage and forget to listen to the precious, brilliant and simple things we offer each other.

Everything we say and do on stage is precious.

Every look, every line, every movement or gesture can be the key to unlocking the greatest scene you’ve ever played. Stop running past the top of your scene and start being precious with every moment.

In improv you’re right. It’s not like the outside world, where we are constantly told we aren’t right, and that we aren’t good enough and that we have to be better. In improv we are always right.

The choices you make and the choices I make are right and they were never wrong, we just have to stop and recognize how beautiful, how simplistic and how precious these moments really are.

Only you can give yourself an improv scene, start trusting that your offers are good enough, start being precious with the things you say and do on stage, but remember: they are precious only in the moment. When that scene is over it will never be done again and there is no going back. That is when we no longer need to be precious. We celebrate the moment and move on, hopefully taking a lesson learned with us to the next.

This is The Precious Nature of Things, and I’m David Suzuki.

Kidding. I’m Matt Folliott.

Matt Folliott is an actor/improviser/comedian, and member of Standards & Practices. He’s performed in festivals across North America, including DCM, CIF, VIIF, Out Of Bounds, Improvaganza, and Mprov. To learn more visit his website, or check out his Fuck Yes! with Moniquea Marion podcast.

This is a great form for improvisers of all disciplines to drop in on and play with ease.

Director’s Cut takes five improvisers and turns them into movie directors. Before the show, each “director” chooses a film genre (Sci-Fi, Horror, Teen Romance, etc.) and is responsible for casting and directing their fellow improvisers for their portion of the show.

Before the first scene, each director gets an ask-for to help inspire their improvised film.

Directors stand stage left or right, and set up the narrative aspects of their film. For example, they might set up the Horror movie scene with, “We see three young men pull up to an abandoned cabin in the woods. They get out of their car, excited to spend a few nights in the wild. But one has an uneasy feeling about the cabin…”

The improvisers then start playing the scene. The director can chime in or side-coach to help explore relationships, the narrative, or anything else he or she finds interesting about the unfolding story.

The director can also set up character archetypes and names; anything really, as long as they leave room for the performers to play.

After we see the five movie styles or genres, the audience votes off one movie, and we see the continuation of the four remaining improvised films until one movie and director remain.

So much fun! It’s an easy form to grasp, and a real audience pleaser.

(Thanks to actor/improviser Matt Folliott for this post.)